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Buying at Auction

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers strives to make buying at auction a simple process, from the moment you discover an item to having it in your home. Our Client Services staff and Specialists are here to assist you along the way.

It is easier than you might think to bid in one of our auctions, with multiple bidding options to suit your needs. You are welcome to attend an auction in person in Chicago, arrange telephone and/or absentee bids, or bid live online anywhere you are.

Create or Log in to Your Online Account

Creating an account with Toomey & Co. Auctioneers is a quick process. Once you have created your account, you will be able to log in, manage your information, and choose collecting interests. You may also favorite upcoming auction lots and place and manage bids.

Create Account or Log in

Auction Previews

Buying at Auction in Person

We invite you to visit Toomey & Co. Auctioneers at 818 North Boulevard in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois. We encourage interested bidders to preview the auction lots during the exhibition hours (generally held the week before an auction) or by setting up an appointment. This will give you an opportunity to examine lots in person and meet our Specialists.

Our staff is more than willing to discuss any lot you may have interest in and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to seeing you at our next auction preview.

Auction Calendar

Viewing Online

We understand viewing in person is not feasible for everyone. For those who cannot make it in to see the lots, we have the full catalog available for viewing online. You will be able to browse the auction lots at your own pace on your computer, phone, or tablet. Each cataloged lot will contain a description, image(s), and a pre-sale estimate to help guide you in your decision-making process.

Condition Reports

Most lots will have a condition report prepared and displayed on the website’s detailed lot page. If you still have specific questions for a lot that has a report, would like a report for a lot that does not currently have one, or would like to receive additional images of a particular item, we are here to assist you. Simply fill out a request form by clicking the “Ask a Question” button on the detailed lot page. You may also email us and one of our Specialists will be in touch. If you are emailing directly, please be sure to include the lot number in your inquiry. Please be advised that all lots are sold “as is” and you should be comfortable with the lot you are interested in before placing a bid.

Terms and Conditions


Now that you have either seen an item in person or found an item of interest online, and perhaps discussed the item with one of our Specialists, it is time to decide how you would like to bid the day of the sale.

The bidding options detailed below should allow anyone to participate in an upcoming auction. Do not forget when you bid directly with Toomey & Co. Auctioneers in person, or via telephone or absentee bid, you pay a lower buyer’s premium. (Bidders through third-party sites [e.g., LiveAuctioneers or Invaluable] pay an additional 5%.)

In Person — Floor Bidding

There is nothing like experiencing a live auction in person. This is your opportunity to observe every aspect of the auction process. You will see the auctioneer taking bids from other floor bidders in the audience, executing absentee bids from the podium, and accepting live bids either on the phone or on one of the online bidding platforms.

Before you are able to participate, you will first need to register for a paddle with Client Services. The registration form only takes a few minutes to complete and once you are finished, you will receive your assigned paddle number. When a lot comes up that you are interested in, simply raise your paddle to get the auctioneer’s attention at each increment you would like to bid. Do not worry about bidding against yourself, as our auctioneers will notify you when you are the winning bidder. You are welcome to stay for the entirety of the sale or come and go as you please throughout the day.

Telephone Bidding

We understand everyone cannot make it to the auction in person on the day of the sale, so we offer the next best thing: telephone bidding. With telephone bidding, a Toomey & Co. Auctioneers representative will call you prior to your lot(s) coming up for bid so you can experience the bidding in real-time. In order for us to call you the day of the auction, you will need to register with us prior to the day of the sale to secure a phone line on the lot(s).

You may register for telephone bidding through your online account once the online catalog is posted on our Upcoming Auctions page or by calling us at (708) 383-5234.

Please note that telephone bids are generally reserved for items with a low estimate of $500 or more and you will need to have a registered account with Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, Chicago.

Not sure if you have an account? Please contact us via email or telephone at (708) 383-5234 and we will be happy to assist you.

Absentee Bidding

We also offer an alternative route to bid directly with us if you cannot attend the auction, are not able to telephone bid, or prefer not to bid live during the sale. Through absentee bidding, you may leave your confidential top bid(s) with us and the auctioneer will competitively execute your absentee bid(s) for you during the auction.

Similar to telephone bidding, you will need to register for absentee bidding prior to the day of the auction through your online account once the online catalog is posted on our Upcoming Auctions. Complete the online form on the detailed lot page or fill out multiple bids using the online form for the desired auction. Please note that in the event of a tie bid, the lot will be awarded to the bidder who registers the bid with us first. Please contact Client Services should you have any issues registering.

Absentee and Telephone Bid Form

Live Online Bidding

If you prefer to bid live online and do not mind paying an extra 5% for the convenience, we offer bidding through two third-party websites: LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable.

To bid online with either of these sites, you will first need to create a free account with the site(s) of your choice, then register to bid at our auction via the third-party site in one of our upcoming auctions.

If you are a first-time bidder or we need additional credit approval, you will receive an email or message asking for credit card information before you are approved for bidding.

Pre-Auction Shipping Inquiries

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers offers safe and economical methods for delivery and shipping within the U.S. for certain purchases. Items such as articles of furniture, highly fragile pieces, and other select items may be excluded from in-house shipping and delivery services. Please contact our Shipping Department prior to the auction with any delivery inquiries and/or to obtain shipping and insurance cost estimates as available. Upon request, we can provide a list of recommended third-party shippers for clients who wish to arrange their own delivery.

Contact Shipping Department


Buyer agrees that the state and federal courts in Cook County, Illinois shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all matters arising out of buyer’s purchase of items from Toomey & Co. Auctioneers and that service of process in any such proceeding shall be deemed effective if mailed to buyer at buyer’s address last provided to Toomey & Co Auctioneers.

Terms & Conditions of Sale

It is important that you are familiar with Toomey & Co. Auctioneers’ Terms and Conditions. Make sure to read this information prior to placing any bids. When leaving bid(s), you are agreeing to these Terms and Conditions.

Please be advised that Toomey & Co. will add a buyer’s premium and sales tax (if applicable) to the “hammer price” (i.e., the final winning bid) for all items. This is standard practice at any auction house.

Buyer’s Premium

All purchases are subject to a buyer’s premium, which is a fee added to the hammer price of all successful bids. Our buyer’s premium schedule is as follows:

  • In-House Bidding (Floor Bidders, Telephone Bidders, and Absentee Bidders)
    • 25% up to and including $100,000
    • 20% above $100,000 up to and including $1,000,000
    • 15% above $1,000,000
  • Internet Bidding (LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com)
    • 30% up to and including $100,000
    • 25% above $100,000 up to and including $1,000,000
    • 20% above $1,000,000

Illinois State Sales Tax

All purchases are subject to a Combined Illinois State Sales Tax for Oak Park, Chicago, Illinois if you are an Illinois Resident and/or you are picking up any item(s) in person. The current combined sales tax rate for Oak Park, Chicago, Illinois is 10%.

If you are a licensed dealer and want your purchases to be tax exempt, please email a copy of your current resale license to [email protected] for us to keep on file. Lots being shipped out of state by a licensed shipping agent are not subject to the combined sales tax.